Australian Faith Leaders Call on Morrison to Accept NZ Deal for Refugees

14 April 2021, 17:45 UTC |

Australians and New Zealanders will be able to access a travel bubble from next week, but there is a group of people who have been desperate to get across the ditch since 2013 when then-NZ prime minister John Key offered to resettle refugees trapped in Australia’s cruel offshore processing system.

Today a group of faith leaders from around the country have published an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in his local newspaper calling on him to accept the NZ resettlement deal and end this dark chapter in Australia’s history.

“In the almost eight years since the deal was offered, every single person in offshore detention – and those brought to Australia through Medevac – could have been free to rebuild their lives,” Amnesty International Australia Refugee Rights Advisor Dr Graham Thom. 

“Instead, Australia has spent billions of dollars and wasted the best years of innocent people's lives trapping them in a system which has broken their physical and mental health.”

Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Rights Advisor Amnesty International Australia

The Right Reverend Dr Greg Anderson, Bishop of the Northern Territory said access to essential medical care for people brought to Australia for that reason is of particular concern to him.

“A sharp focus for Darwin right now is the number of people who are being held in medevac detention near Darwin Airport, for over a year, without receiving medical treatment. This is deeply inhumane.”

The Right Reverend Dr Murray Harvey the Bishop of Grafton said the NZ offer was a logical solution.

“The offer from NZ is a compassionate one and I encourage the Australian Government to pursue this in the interest of the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers.” 

Right Reverend Dr Greg Anderson, Bishop of the Northern Territory, Australia